And now for something completely different

When I was in elementary school I wrote poetry. I did it for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it was assigned by the teacher. I think there was a unit on poetry in each grade. But, there were other reasons, too. When I wrote a poem, I got positive feedback from the teacher and from my family, particularly from my mother and Zada. I responded to that encouragement by getting more interested in poetry.

As a child I liked reading poetry, too. Thanks to my mom, I grew up exposed to Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses, among others. I remember checking poetry anthologies, along with fairy tales and Betty Cavanna books, out of the school library.

Zada, who hadn’t graduated from high school, appreciated the written word. I was in 4th or 5th grade when he asked me to type up my poems so he could keep a copy. I think there were about five poems on two pages. He took them from me, folded them up and put them in his wallet. I believe he shared them with friends and family. He would pull the pages out every so often to remind me that he still carried them. I think he still had them when he moved to Florida.

When I reached junior high school I had stopped writing poetry. I stopped writing creatively entirely. I’m not sure what happened. Maybe I stopped getting positive feedback. I don’t know if it is coincidence, but I stopped at the same time that my acute self-consciousness fully flowered. I was paralyzed by doubt. I periodically wrote in a journal during that time, but I was totally unwilling to share anything.

I didn’t write another poem, or share any of my writing, until a little over a year ago. As part of the first writer’s workshop that I took after I retired, we were asked to produce some poems. During that intensive four-day workshop, which was led by a poet, we were asked to not only write poems (and prose, too), but to share it with the group! Much to my amazement I was willing and able to do it. And nothing terrible happened – I didn’t die of embarrassment. It was liberating.

After that workshop, I focused on writing the stories I’ve been sharing on this blog. Lately, though, I have found myself writing prose that I think may be borderline poetry. I don’t know the definition of poetry, but what I’ve been writing is different than the narratives I’ve been posting.

Since this is my blog, and I am experimenting with my writing, I thought I would take a risk and put something different out there. So here goes…..two poems for your consideration.

 

 

[Note: I can’t figure out how to post the poems single-spaced! If anyone reads this far and knows how to do this on WordPress, let me know! Thanks]

Morning Ablutions

Pop out of bed

I’m late

I have nothing to wear

Fling open my closet

Pull out a drawer

Toss stuff on the bed

Settle on a trusty t-shirt and jeans

Into the bathroom

Run a pick through my hair

Brush teeth, rinse mouth

Grab my backpack

Head out to the bus

 

I stumble half-awake into her bedroom

Shhh, shush, it’s okay, little one

I lift her and hug her to my chest

She settles a bit

I carry her to the changing table

Tickle her belly with my nose

Remove the wet diaper

Wash and dry, sprinkle some talc

Put on a fresh one

Pick her up and bring her to the kitchen

Into the high chair

Some cheerios to munch

Yawn as I whisk her eggs.

 

Open my eyes

Reach for my glasses and I-phone on the night stand

Look at the time, peruse email, scroll Facebook

Nothing of interest

Sit up and put my feet on the floor

Get my legs under me

Shuffle to the bathroom, working out the kinks

Shake out the pills

Take some water, throw back my head and swallow

Apply moisturizer (with sunscreen) to my face and neck

Brush teeth

Throw on yoga pants and sweatshirt

Head downstairs for coffee

_______________________________________________

Rosh Hashanah 

Rosh Hashanah 1991

We enter the sanctuary

Before us a sea of curly dark hair

Dotted with white yarmulkes

Blue next to gray next to brown suit

White tallit draped across shoulders

Heads turn to note our entrance

I shift Daniel in my arms,

Grasp Leah’s little hand

Murmur “sorry” as we climb over congregants to

Settle into seats

We wait to hear the shofar usher in the new year.

 

Rosh Hashanah 2016

We enter the sanctuary

Before us small clusters of people

Sprinkled throughout the huge hall

Bald and graying heads

Covered by white yarmulkes

Gray, navy and black suits

Stooped shoulders beneath tallit

Heads turn to note our entrance

I follow Gary to the front section

We settle into our seats

We wait to hear the shofar usher in the new year.

 

 

5 thoughts on “And now for something completely different

  1. Linda,
    You captured our sense of nostalgia for the glory days of being a young parent. In so many ways Sandi and I miss those days. it feels like yesterday but, sadly, at the same time, it feels like a life-time ago.

    Like

  2. What wonderful writing. I still have some of your poems but they are probably in one of the memory cartons, but I will look. Do you remember I framed two of Leah’s poems and gave them to Gary and he had them hanging in his office?

    Like

  3. Enjoyed your poetry, especially the segue into dealing with mornings the age we are now.
    To turn the clock back for a time when they were all little would be sweet.

    Like

  4. Bitter sweet. It is poignant and wonderful and I loved the themes if not all of the reality. Thank you. You’re great and that hasn’t changed a bit. So glad you are feeling liberated. We are all the richer for that.

    Like

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